Thursday, April 29, 2010

Stunning Chemistry - Game 7 Review: Habs 2 - Caps 1

I'm not sure what to say. I don't know what words to use to describe the feat, the feelings, the renewed hope, the sobering reality that stands in our way tomorrow.

Maybe the numbers can convey why it's so hard to understand. The numbers themselves make this achievement inexplicable.

In the history of 7-game series in the NHL, only 8% of teams have come back from a 3-1 deficit. None of the teams that accomplished the reversal were 8th seeds. The stats show that Montreal's ousting of the Washington Capitals last night was nearly impossible from a statistical standpoint.

It was nearly impossible from a logical standpoint. From a reasonable one. After the Habs went down 3-1 in the series Halak allowed 3 goals. He faced 38 shots on the road in Game 5, he played an epic and unforgettable Game 6 in front of the luckiest 21,273 fans ever assembled at the Bell Centre and made 53 saves. And he made 41 stops in Game 7 to eliminate the league's giants. 134 shots in 3 games, 3 goals scored. The Caps, done with.

41 shots blocked in Game 7.

1 power play goal allowed in 7 games, against the league's best power play.

Shutting down Alexander Ovechkin in the last 3 games, all elimination games. Keeping him pointless 4 times in the series.

There are no words. It's just an impossible feat that defies anything remotely fathomable in the world of hockey. It's a freak of nature and savour it, because this was one of the most special, magical, anthological performances this team has ever produced. This team, a mixed bag of old and largely new faces, disjointed and hurt in October, connecting in November, struggling through the winter, and realigned in February, is now entirely together in the spring and has managed to write another remarkable chapter in the Canadiens' layered history.

Whatever happens, what experts called a science experiment last summer has worked well enough to produce this unforgettable narrative. The feeling we feel today is exceptional.

We undertand the desire to sign Hal Gill, without whom the Habs would have lost the series. We are in admiration of Mike Cammalleri, the last Canadien to score this often in the clutch since God knows when. Gomez, Gionta, while not as effective played their part in toppling the Capitals with grit and intelligence, with dedication to the team. Bergeron, getting it in the end, even if it meant he would play a restricted part in favour of a young rookie who had only played 2 games in the NHL. Bergeron played 90 seconds in the first last night. Look what he did with them. Moen, adding that Mike Keane factor you so desperately want, giving Gomez and Gionta room and heart.


But still, we worry. We worry that this trend cannot continue and that you don't get outshot 2 or 3-1 throughout the playoffs and live to tell. You cannot help but wonder why the Kostitsyns even bother to wear a jersey that means so much, when their play shows so little. That hat trick in Game 2 should have lifted Andrei to another level. He stalled after it. He reverted to his nonchalance, one strong shift followed by a lackadaisical one. Andrei Markov, a shadow of himself throughout the series, playing hurt possibly or simply caught in a rut? Or was this series so hard on him that he needed to hyper-focus on his defensive mission against this offensive juggernaut and leave his own team's offence to the forwards.

The second round that starts too early to bare seems daunting now. If we the fans aren't ready for it, how do the players feel?

Whatever happens, the performance the team put together, with its stunning feats and discernible flaws, was a kind of magic. Of course we want more because we don't want the feeling to end, but I think we'll take what we can get and, as far as 2009-2010 goes, consider ourselves lucky, proud and satiated.


moeman said...

Well said 4. I'd add a kudo to the Mad Scientist Bob Gainey.

Also, Hockey history, according to the NHL (not just another youtube parody)

HabsFan29 said...

well said 4!

not sure I agree about Markov, especially last night where he worked damn hard. his offense did seem a bit off though

and nice work GG. the colours are cool, man

moeman said...

29 knows, GG deserves the FHF HeART trophy.

Dave Cunningham said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Dave Cunningham said...

Come on, guy, seriously? You're going to claim that Markov and Kostitsyn weren't fantastic? Do you think it's a coincidence that Ovechkin was held pointless? Andrei had 6 points in 7 games, and 15 SOG. And he played responsibly. Let's please just enjoy one day of respite of the nit-picking from the peanut gallery, if you'll allow me to mix my metaphors.

GoldenGirl11 said...

Thanks. I'm happy for Bob.

Q said...

Great Post.
We should take time and soak this feeling in. Apart from the Cup itself, this is as good as it gets.

Tomorrow night feelings will change to anticipation and angst, and possible euphoria.

But today is a good day. All is well with the world (crippling euro debt, burning seas and fox news aside).

Savour the moment.

TheIronLung said...

That's why they play the game.

RicD said...

And that's why we watch it.

The glimpse of hope hidden deep within, even when the head says it goes against all logic.

I'd love to see us not crash and burn like every other 2nd round we've played in the last 10 years.

But again, there's always that glimpse of hope that says I can't shave that rediculous goatee I grew in honour of the turtlenecked-one (it's awfull, it doesn't even connect. It also says to continue filling my stomach with the smooth taste of Bowes Double Dry beer.

Superstitions, what won't you make us do?

lehab said...

Great work HF4!... and also what moeman said last night..."Merci Bob Gainey"

Bill 101 said...

@RicD - "Superstitions, what won't you make us do?"


Kmaxx said...

I'm loving the artwork! Excellent work once again GG! It was well worth staying up until 3 am for. An awesome defensive display however I live in fear of how few shots we took. I think PFK did himself proud and certainly didn't look out of place. Now we need to shut down Sidney Bettman like we shut down his brother Alex Bettman. Man I can't wait until Friday night!

Go Habs Go (I'll save the "fuckin' Pants" for the Game Day Skate)

marian said...

Snow in April, Ovi stirred and shaken, Jaro doing the Cirque du Halak, well, 2010 April has been of the best Aprils ever!!

Now, if I didn't have to file my taxes tomorrow, this April would be just perfect!
Marian K.

lawyergirl77 said...

Amazing artwork and writeup!! Well done GG and 4!

By the way, apparently the guys started singing Olé Olé Olé when they got back to the locker room.

Seriously, guys, stop it! You're making me fall that much more in love with you... which will make a second round exit hard to take.

So don't be that team.

Pretty please?

TimHortonsPaulCoffee said...

Ovie left shaking in his 'pants'.

L Dude said...

The thing about Markov was he played like a normal d-man, still put up decent numbers and didn't make (m)any defensive gaffs. We're just so used to him controlling the game. He SO should have skipped the Olympics. He'll be back to his old self - always plays well against the Pens.

Hey, what do Hal Gill, Ryan O'Byrne and PK Subban all have in common?
The only three players on the plus side of the +/- scale in the series, each at +1. That's kind of amazing.
Moen, Moore and SK were even.
MAB a whopping -8, but who cares he opened the scoring in game 7!

Just watching 'the panel' on TSN.
James Duthie the only one picking the Habs - and admittedly to suck up to the magnitude of Habs fans that tune in. Whatever.

Howard said...

Looking at The Urologist makes me wonder? Is that what I think it is in that beaker?


boob gainey said...

Apparently Pierre Gauthier was in charge of pro scouting before taking over from Gainey.

If that's the case then one has to admit that every single one of his suggestions for free agent signings and trades has been spot on since last year.

Starting with Metro, moving on to Gomez and the free agents from the summer, and ending with Moore. 100% average.

So I'd suggest we're not in bad hands.

Number31 said...


joey_b said...

Carey Price to start in Game 1??

orangeman said...

@joey: lolz.

Anonymous said...

For Sexy Friday, assholes.

And, please, beat the ever living shit outta Crosby and the fucks that call themselves the Pens.